Lesson Day

Had our lesson today – the last minute brush up for the dressage show this weekend.  Can you say challenging?  Part of the challenge we presented to Ike;  the neighborhood children also tossed in a challenge as an added bonus.  Ms. C brought the tractor into the arena and Ike had to follow it on a loose rein, accept treats from Ms. C while she was seated on the tractor, and then had to ride by it like it was a judge’s booth.  Challenge 1 passed with flying colors.  Challenge 2 – The local kids decided to ride their four-wheelers up and down the road at top speed (wearing no helmets which is a topic for another day).  They revved the engines repeatedly which had all the horses on edge.  Ike was a bit on edge and it took all my strength to get him to relax over his back.  Lots of half halts with some being more successful than others.  Had to resort to one rein flexes to finally get his attention after one particularly loud, “I’m not listening to you” moment.  I did realize that carrying my whip when Ike is already keyed up is not the wisest idea.  Good thing to know for Sunday.

Ike finally got used to the four-wheelers and did some nice work.  I need to be careful with my half halts right before circles.  If I give a half halt that is a bit too loud, then I am the reason we loose impulsion on the circle.  Drat…rider error!  If I don’t give enough of a half halt, we plow onto the circle with the hind end trailing a few feet behind.  Rider error again.  It is hard trying to be perfect in your aids.  Heck, it is hard enought just trying to be adequate.

Finished the lesson with the full Training Level Test 1 ride.  Haunches slightly right in halt, but otherwise not bad.  I did manage to keep the haunches from falling right as we made the left turn off centerline.  Good trot down the long side, and then that too loud half halt cost me my trot rhythm on the circle.  Recovered halfway around the circle and nicely forward trot as we headed around our circle at A.  Nailed the left lead canter transition.  I use too much inside rein sometimes to keep Ike from drifting right -need more outside leg and rein.  Stretch down trot circle?  “5”  OK transition to the walk.  Needed more oomph in my free walk as well.  Peaceful trot transition at C.  Better trot circle to the right which is actually surprising because it is our harder side (maybe my half halt was better?)  Right lead canter transition was maybe a tiny bit early, but we got it and the right lead canter was decent.  Good turn onto centerline and square halt.  I can only hope it goes as well on Sunday…

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